Social Media Strategy in 8 Steps

Focus More On How To Be Social

Over the past four years at Convince & Convert, we’ve continued to refine our social media strategy process. Here’s one of the latest iterations, presented as a keynote speech to ESTO (Educational Seminar for Travel Organizations) last Fall. I’ve pasted the slides below, but also included a short summary of the 8 steps in our social media strategy process, as the slides are more visual than descriptive.

Social Media Strategy in 8 Steps (Summary)

One of the major theses we employ in our social media strategy process is this:

Companies should focus more on how to BE social, and less on how to DO social media. (tweet this)

With all the new tools and platforms constantly emerging, it’s very easy to get fall into the trap of thinking about social media through a tactical prism instead of a strategic one. The best social media strategic plans are tools-agnostic, and set forth objectives and metrics that supersede any particular social venue.

Step 1: Build an Ark

Nobody should “own” social media strategy in your organization. Social impacts all corners of the company, and should be more like air (everywhere) than like water (you have to go get it). Thus, the first step in the process is to create a cross-functional team to help conceive and operate the rest of the strategy.

Step 2: Listen and Compare

It’s an old social media strategy chestnut by now, but “listen” is still good advice that’s often ignored. The reality is that your customers (and competitors) will give you a good guide to where and how you should be active in social media, if you broaden your social listening beyond your brand name.

Step 3: What’s the Point?

Yes, you can use social media to help accomplish several business objectives. But the best social media strategies are those that focus (at least initially) on a more narrow rationale for social. What do you primarily want to use social for? Awareness? Sales? Loyalty and retention? Pick one.

Step 4: Select Success Metrics

How are you going to determine whether this is actually making a difference in your business? What key measures will you use to evaluate social media strategy effectiveness? How will you transcend (hopefully) likes and engagement? Will you measure ROI?

Step 5: Analyze Your Audiences

With whom will you be interacting in social media? What are the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your current or prospective customers? How does that impact what you can and should attempt in social media?

Step 6: What’s Your One Thing?

Passion is the fuel of social media. (tweet this)

It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you sell, your product features and benefits aren’t enough to create a passion-worthy stir. How will your organization appeal to the heart of your audience, rather than the head? Disney isn’t about movies, it’s about magic. Apple isn’t about technology, it’s about innovation. What are you about?

Step 7: How Will You Be Human?

Social media is about people, not logos. (tweet this)

The mechanics of social force companies to compete for attention versus your customers’ friends and family members. Thus, your company has to (at least to some degree) act like a person, not an entity. How will you do that?

Step 8: Create a Channel Plan

Only after you know why you’re active in social at all, and how you’ll measure social media strategy success should you turn your attention to the “how” of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the rest. This channel plan should be distinct, in that you have a specific, defensible reason for participating in each (I covered this more in-depth in my post on 3 Rock Solid Questions to Guide Your 2013 Social Media Success).

When we’re working on social media strategy for major companies, the plan and the deliverable is quite a bit more comprehensive than what you see above, but it’s based on this scaffolding and thought process. I hope you’ll find it useful in your own endeavors.

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About Jay Baer
Jay Baer is a tequila-loving, hype-free social media strategy consultant and coach. An online marketing pro since 1994, he's worked with more than 700 companies, and 25 of the Fortune 1000. He's one of the world's most popular social media bloggers, creator of the 8-step Social Media Strategic Planning Process, and the Twitter 20 series of live Twitter interviews. He spreads his "think tools last, not first" message around the country like a digital dandelion, speaking to conferences, small groups, or passers-by. Check out his blog at Convince&Convert.
There are 3 Comments. Add Yours.
  1. Great tips. Many companies forget that What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) is just as true on social media and it may even be more true on social platforms.

  2. There is nothing here about local social. In our business model, we have to not only be the place that people go to, we are in a very focused business stream. It is useful to be known for who we are, as well as where we are.

  3. I think step 3 is the most important. What’s the point of running one if you don’t have a clear objective? We went through this with our business (chatmeter.com) and saw a jump once we optimized our posts.

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